Ignatius of Loyola was born in 1491 into a noble Basque family in northern Spain. He became a soldier in the service of the Spanish king Ferdinand. During the defense of the fortress at Pamplona in 1521, a cannonball shattered his leg. During a long and painful convalescence, Ignatius had the opportunity to experience a life-changing conversion. He went from dreaming of knightly glory to wanting to serve Jesus.
He left Loyola and set out as a pilgrim to the Benedictine monastery at Montserrat. There he spent all night in prayer and offered his knight's sword to Our Lady. Dressed as a beggar, he spent the next few months living in a cave in nearby Manresa. With much mortification and prayer, he reflected on the life and teachings of Jesus. The notes of his experiences in prayer became the basis of a small book called The Spiritual Exercises.
Ignatius used this book to lead others to a knowledge of God through meditation on the life of Jesus. In 1539 Ignatius and his companions deliberated in Rome about how they might together serve God in the Church. Their decisions became a formula for their future and the foundation on which the Society of Jesus was founded and approved by Pope Paul III in 1540. Ignatius died on July 31, 1556.
Suscipe - St. Ignatius of Loyola
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.